By Mr Tom Seymour
This week, Mr Edward Burtynsky will fly to London to be garlanded as Photo London’s Master of Photography. At the fair, he will exhibit, for the first time, images from his Anthropocene project, a sprawling, years-in-the-making, multinational blockbuster of a photography show, with a bolt-on a feature film and “augmented-reality experience” that explores the impact humans are having on the earth.
The Canadian curator Mr Marc Mayer calls them “exquisite pictures of ugliness”. For decades, Mr Burtynsky has documented some of the most damaged places on the planet, such as the floating slum of Makoko in Lagos, the graveyard of ship hulks in Bangladesh and the flattened jungles of Borneo. He uses a precision large-format camera to create impossibly detailed photographs. They are, Mr Mayer says, “a dystopian sublime”, inarguable, highly aesthetic evidence of the havoc our species is wreaking on the natural world.
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